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Helping a colicky baby fall asleep

By - | November 24th 2012

Colic often attack at night when the baby can cry, applying a few tricks will sooth baby to sleep writes, JOHN MUTURI

 Lack of sleep is one of the major miseries a colicky baby visits on parents apart from disrupting the family life. It’s worse at night when she can cry for hours on end! Soothing her to sleep is never a walk in the park. It often calls for you to think outside the box on ways to put her back to sleep. You can apply a few tips at home to help the baby sleep.

Drinking: Feeding her and giving her a bottle of warm water helps relieve her misery by filling and warming her tummy, even when it’s not feeding time.

Warm-scented bath: A warm bath with a soothing scented baby wash (or mild baby soap with soothing fragrances like lavender or chamomile) would help put the baby to sleep. Lavender is an aromatic relaxing scent and once used with the warm water, will relieve her aching belly. It’s important to talk to her as you bathe her keeping your tone happy, not frantic.

Warmth: Keeping her belly warm most of the time will help. You’ll, therefore, need to have a hot water bottle and fill it with warm (not hot) water then lay it on her belly once you put her in bed. You may find this warmth is all that she needs to relieve the cramping of colic.

Holding her close: When you hold her close to you, the rhythmic breathing and warmth from your body can help soothe her to sleep.

Neck nestling: This happens when the baby snuggles her head into the space between your jaw and chest. The jawbone drapes gently over the baby’s head and the voice box presses against her head. Babies hear with their ears and also perceive the vibrations that pass through their skull. If you then sing some repetitive sound like a lullaby, it will sooth your baby to drift off to sleep. The technique works best with fathers because they have a lower pitch and higher vibration from their voice.

Sound: Soft music (like classical or slow music) or louder ticking clock placed near her bed helps to simulate the sounds of the womb such as your heartbeat. Experts say that the irregular humming sound of background noise might be similar to what your baby heard in the womb and the familiarity fascinates her.

Motion: Any kind of rhythmic motion or vibration helps relieve colic. So laying her on her tummy on your lap and jiggling your legs to giver a gently bouncing motion will calm her to sleep and give you both a break.

Use pacifier: Oftentimes a pacifier is enough to distract your baby by giving her mouth something else to do. If this doesn’t work, a small bottle of sugar water helps calm and relax the baby.

It’s stressful and frustrating to care for a colic baby, but don’t blame yourself. She will outgrow it. It will be difficult to sooth your baby if you’re always stressed up. You need to relax. You should, however, consult a doctor if she screams constantly, or her colic attacks are accompanied by excessive vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation as the symptoms may point to a serious problem.

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